Our family was blessed last night by the Dallas Mavericks and HAVE to tell everyone about it not because they asked me to (in fact I wonder if they'd want me to...) but because I'm compelled to publicly thank them for what they did for us.
As foster and/or adoptive parents, if you're plugged in to foster/adopt circles like foster parent associations, you frequently get invited to participate in special events for foster/adopt families. I'm sure these things come about in a variety of ways but I imagine there are generous people/organizations/etc. out there who put these things together trying to give back to the community and sometimes they choose foster/adopt families. These perks of the job are pretty cool for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is being able to take our kids to things we may not be able to do otherwise due to the size of our family.
For example, this past weekend I attended a "breakfast with Santa" event with other foster families in our county. This was free and isn't something non-foster/adopt families could have attended. It was, however, an opportunity my kids probably wouldn't have received otherwise. There was breakfast, craft tables, karaoke, face painting, balloons, gifts for the kids (pretty cool ones at that), and of course the jolly old man in red complete with pictures. If we'd hadn't had this event my kids probably wouldn't have seen Santa. As our family schedule goes I would have had to take my kids by myself and that would have been nearly impossible. Taking a teething, newly walking baby who always wants to be held, 2 children with strong sensory needs and a bit of O.D.D-type behaviors, a 3 year old girl who deserves a class of her own, and 2 older, great helpers that get annoyed with the behavior of the littler ones is a recipe for disaster. Add waiting in line with "normal" families, the excitement of seeing Santa, the mall...I just wouldn't try that myself and I'm pretty adventurous. Instead I took them to a place where my crew was just like the others in the room, no one was overly concerned when my kids wanted to take 500 pictures with Santa so they could get all possible combinations of siblings, and no one jumped down my throat for letting my baby walk around in a crowded room or scolding my child for eating fruit loops (she's gluten-free). My craziness was normal in the see of other children with similar backgrounds. And it was free.
On a separate occasion we were offered free tickets to the Dallas Mavericks game (we chose 12/18). We've been waiting a couple months for this date to come because we thought it would be so much fun for our kiddos. When we got there we got everyone to their seats and quickly stress-levels rose. Please re-read the previous description of my family and put that in a crowded sports arena. Then consider we were 2 rows from the top of the stadium and the seating was VERY steep. Anxiety shot through the roof as we tried to figure out how we would be able to keep all of our kids from falling down the bleachers. Then Logan became ill both from being dizzy from looking down and also from anxiety from being up so high. He eventually curled up into a ball under our chairs. I was and still am grateful for the people who donated for our family to go to the game but it was appearing as if it was going to be an anxiety-ridden trip at a minimum and deadly in a worst-case-yet-possible scenario.
I decided to take the ladies to the restroom with me and then sneak over to guest services. I thought I'd ask if they had any seat upgrades available thinking maybe for $10-$20 per seat we may be able to move at least several more rows down. We walked across the arena and found the office who promptly sent us around even more to find the ticket booth "to see if there was anything they could do". I explained that we'd had the tickets donated to us and how my son was curled up into a ball on the floor. He said he didn't know what could be done, this would be up to the Mavs. He came back saying he could find us 4 tickets lower but finding seats for all of us together would be impossible. As I was considering whether it would be better to send my hubby and son down a few rows or stay together he asked me to wait another minute then disappeared.
This time he came back with 7 new tickets. He said he'd nearly been decapitated for asking and warned me the Mavs NEVER do this...then he handed me 7 new tickets for seats in the floor section...for free. The face value was $135 each...he just gave them to us. I was so excited to tell my hubby not only the generosity of the gift we'd received but also about the awesome seats we were going to be able to sit in. When I'd gone to ask I thought maybe we could swing $100-$200 for better seats, I wasn't asking for or expecting free upgrades like that. We absolutely couldn't have spent $1000 for our family to sit in those seats on our own...it's just not in the budget. It was such a wonderful experience AND, the Mavs beat the Memphis Grizzlies as icing on the cake and I'm so glad we were able to have that family time together.
Today I'm thankful for all the people who donate to and otherwise help support our family and others who foster/adopt. This life isn't easy - it takes constant work. We encourage others to really seek out whether they could foster or adopt because we believe more people could than are willing to try BUT I also want to express how helpful it is to have people around us show love and gratitude for what we do through words or gifts or acts of service. That's not why we do it but it does give a little boost on hard days when the work seems insurmountable.
Thank you Dallas Mavericks. I'm proud to tell others how wonderful you were to our family and encourage them to support the Mavs.